The high Aswan Dam is primarily used for its economic functions: it regulates the Nile River, preventing flooding, regulates agriculture and produces electricity. However, it is also an original tourist attraction, the only one of its kind in Egypt.
Over 3.5 km long, and 111 m high, with a width at the base of up to 1 km, the dimensions of the Aswan High Dam are impressive. The first stage of work was completed in 1964. It was then that the water in the area of former Nubia began to accumulate, which contributed to the formation of Lake Nasser.
The construction was finally completed only in 1970. During the six years that the reservoir was slowly filling up with water, archaeologists surveyed 24 local sites. It was decided to save some of the monuments from sinking and move them to higher ground, including the temples in Abu Simbel and the Philae Temple.
The construction of the dam, while doing a lot of good for the Egyptian economy, also caused major changes to the river's ecosystem. The dam stopped the floods of the Nile, which brought with it silt, naturally fertilizing the farmland. Currently, chemical fertilizers are used throughout the Nile Valley. The dam also regulates the water height in the river to the north of the structure, which means that some of the canals have dried up, as they are deprived of sufficient water. Its construction also disturbed the water ecosystem. Many species of fish, amphibians and reptiles as well as waterfowl have been cut off from their migratory sites in the south. Among other things, this contributed to the disappearance of crocodiles from the Nile below the High Dam of Aswan.